Architects work almost every second, if not directly, then their subconscious works continuously. As the profession promotes constant growth and advancements, one needs to keep improving oneself to do justice with the state of flux Architecture has. And reading is one of the important tools to keep you on your toes and evolve along with evolving architecture. It will not be wrong to say that reading is a phenomenon that believes in fostering free knowledge for the entire world. Moreover, it provides plenty of other benefits that result in helping almost every single aspect of an architect’s life, from enhancing mental health to improving the thinking process to broadening the perspective, reading does it all.
Let’s look at the things an architect can learn from reading.
1. Reading improves understanding the people, places, and society better
Every architect has their own set of experiences, which they grow their sensitivity around. Reading a project by a famous architect or reading about a biography of a gem in the architecture world stretches the vicinity of our experiences and increases our abilities to empathize with people, clients, and society. Learning about a piece that portrays a concept explaining its motives, the response it gave to the environment, and the human experience with it, not only trigger the part of your brains dedicated to improve understanding but sensitize the architect’s minds too.
Here are some examples that you can dive right into.
a. The language of Architecture: 26 Principles every Architect should know by Andrea Simitch, Val Warke
This book starts from the very basics and takes it to the next level by mentioning complex designs in the architecture world. Centered on 26 parts of what architecture is made of, this book certainly is a wide-ranging tool for learning.
b. A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein
We often learn through facts and a broad range of knowledge coming right at us, but this book proves to be distinct from its peers. Christopher Alexander has designed this book by showcasing various types of challenges a design goes through and the problems that need to be solved. He has then evaluated every situation considering their spirit and then proposed a standard solution for the same.
c. The Eye of the Skin by Juhani Pallasmaa
A short but inspiring book for the architects that pushes them to change their way of sighting the world and utilizing all of their senses when they observe the surroundings they are in.
2. Improves Analytical thinking
Architecture being a line of work made of a combination of art and technicality, an architect needs to be creative and logical at the same time. Reading such things enhances the analytical thinking of an architect, pushing them to perform in an artistic yet critical way. Analytical thinking is important for designing any space, to perceive any environment, and to execute any concept, so read as much as you can to improve yourself in this area.
Look at some books that can help your analytical thinking.
a. Form, Space, and Order by Francis D.K. Ching
Everyone must have heard of this book when they first entered their architectural schools. This book impressively demonstrates critical aspects of designing a space igniting analytical thinking in an architect.
b. Sustainable Design: A Critical Guide by David Bergman
As the world is leaning towards sustainability a lot more than it ever did, architects should indulge themselves with the readings focused on such topics that are getting essential for our world. This guide focuses on creating environment responsive designs and tells about carbon footprints and energy reduction as well.
c. The Works: Anatomy of the City by Kate Ascher
We are taught about the steps a building goes through while putting it together, but we often lack to examine the procedures involved in the functioning of the structure. Kate Ascher emphasizes on the processes behind the structure rather than just its image in the environment.
3. Reading expands your creativity and imagination
Fiction gives us the liberty to draw a picture in our minds that is creative and imaginative, irrespective of whether it’s possible or not. And architects usually work on this principle of liberty throughout their lives, acting as visual thinkers where they imagine pictures in their minds for the world around us. Reading brushes up that thought process by boosting the mental ability to think and stimulates the imaginings.
The following mentioned books are a few of the most important books that one should read to expand their creative and imaginative thinking.
a. The Future of Architecture in 100 Buildings by Marc Kushner
Marc Kushner is a dynamic architect and co-founder of Architizer and has represented 100 buildings from his distinctive experiences in the architecture world that display an exclusive image of the future.
b. The Image of the City by Kevin Lynch
Kevin Lynch has put his findings in this 1960s book about how a city should be perceived and explained how these findings he has mentioned, impacts in building a city.
c. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
This is one of the best fiction written that architects should read, they can also learn a lot from this book about being imaginative, what they often miss while being all practical. Italo Calvino, in this novel, along with some essays, narrates about Marco Polo and his imagination of a city about which he was describing to emperor Kublai Khan. It’s positive, it’s magical, it’s easily readable, and is a must-read that can enlarge the pool of imagination we all carry.
4. Reading is informative and broadens the perspective
Nobody can ever know everything just by their experiences, or work practice, the different dynamics of the world of architecture can certainly be broadened by reading various pieces that have been written all these years. The knowledge it imparts and the valued insights it carries result in being informative for the architects, making them aware of new and historic things that take you a step further from where you were.
Let’s look at some books that are informative yet interesting.
a. Architecture: A World History by Daniel Borden, Jerzy Elzanowski, and Joni Taylor
Getting to know about great architects that shaped up our profession, and the architectural movements that are responsible for making the profession what it is today will surely be exciting. Knowing about all of this, along with reading about the architectural masterworks in this pocket-sized book is a treat for architects.
b . Understanding Architecture: Its Elements, History, and Meaning by Leland M Roth and Amanda C Roth Clark
If you want to be an architect, you need to be aware of the history and the timeline of architecture. This book engages the readers by serving them with various architectural styles from around the world, together with investigating structures and functions involved in architecture that are quite interesting.
c. Mutations by Rem Koolhaus, Stefano Boeri, Sanford Kwinter, Nadia Tazi, Hans Ulrich Obrist
Mutations quite lean on the technical side of the urban transformations and its various impacts on our environment.
5. Reading is tranquil and can distress you
Architects work in a field where they are dominated by uncertain sleep schedules, the pressure of the deadlines, and an excess amount of stress, so finding a way to distress it all would not be a bad idea. Reading has been proven to be able to make our brains feel calm and acts like meditation. Architects should read regularly to sleep better, reduce the rate of depression, and to decrease stress levels.
Have a look at these fun books that will certainly be tranquil in your busy life.
a. ArchiDoodle by Steve Bowkett
A fine collection of interesting challenges, this book can help you take your mind off from the pressure or stress you might be going through. Filled with interactive challenges such as designing a monument to conceptualizing skyscrapers, the book keeps you tied up.
b. A Visual Dictionary of Architecture by Francis D K Ching
It is a great book full of illustrations and various definitions of architecture that are depicted by hand-rendered drawings. You can practice those drawings, improve your skills, or just be fascinated by them, either way, you will feel distressed.
c. The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard
The Poetics of Space explores numerous spaces a house is built from, studies the philosophies involved, and then narrates the relation of the space with dreams and memories too that will allow our minds to wander off the tensions.